Role of prehabilitation following major uro-oncologic surgery: a narrative review

World J Urol. 2022 Jun;40(6):1289-1298. doi: 10.1007/s00345-020-03505-4. Epub 2020 Oct 31.


Purpose: Functional status and physical independence play a key role in terms of quality of life, access to treatment, and continuity of care. Surgery, a central component of cancer treatments, leads to detrimental effects on functional capacity, which can be peculiarly relevant in vulnerable patients undergoing major procedures. Prehabilitation is a multidisciplinary intervention that uses the preoperative period to prevent or attenuate treatment-related functional decline and its subsequent consequences. This paper narratively reviews the rationale and the evidence of prehabilitation for uro-oncologic surgery.

Methods: A narrative review was conducted in August 2020, aiming to: (1) identify and discuss the impact of modifiable determinants of postoperative outcomes in urology and (2) review randomized controlled trials (RCT) exploring the role of preoperative exercise, nutrition, and psychological interventions in uro-oncologic surgery.

Results: Eight RCTs on preoperative conditioning interventions met the inclusion criteria, focusing on radical cystectomy for bladder cancer (RC) and radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer (RP). There is strong evidence that poor physical, nutritional and psychosocial status negatively impacts on surgical outcomes. Single modality interventions, such as preoperative exercise or nutrition alone, had no effect on 'traditional' surgical outcomes as length of stay or complication. However, multimodal approaches targeting postoperative functional status have shown to be effective and safe.

Conclusion: There is initial evidence on the effectiveness and safety of multimodal prehabilitation in preserving functional capacity following RC and RP. However, to date, outcomes such as complications and length of stay seem to be not affected by prehabilitation.

Keywords: ERAS; Functional capacity; Prehabilitation; Quality of life; Radical cystectomy; Radical prostatectomy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cystectomy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Preoperative Exercise*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms* / surgery